A Maryland lawmaker made history on Wednesday when she became the first woman and first African-American elected as the state’s House speaker.
Del. Adrienne Jones was unanimously voted as speaker after the two Democratic candidates who were vying for the job stepped aside to nominate her.
“Wow, I didn’t think I would be here this time when I left out my house this morning,” Jones said after she was sworn in, according to video from CNN affiliate WBAL-TV.
Jones, who was the speaker pro tem, had campaigned to replace the late Speaker Michael Busch, but dropped out of the race last week.
Then on Wednesday, during a special session, Democratic Dels. Dereck Davis and Maggie McIntosh both failed to garner the more than 71 votes needed to win the nomination. McIntosh won a vote among the Democratic caucus, 58-40, but Davis had the support of the minority Republican caucus.
After nearly five hours of deliberation among the Democratic caucus in a closed-door meeting, Davis and McIntosh emerged to support Jones for the speakership.
In nominating Jones on Wednesday, McIntosh said that the walls of the House chamber “will never be the same,” referring to the portraits of the past House speakers who were all white men, WBAL reported.
Jones thanked Davis and McIntosh, who she said “saw the importance of us as a caucus coming together.”
The Republican caucus moved to support Jones for speaker, and said it was proud “to have been a critical piece in this historic election.”
“Ultimately, we believe in compromise and getting big things done for the people of Maryland and we know that Speaker Jones does as well,” House Minority Leader Nic Kipke said in a statement.
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan extended his congratulations to Jones, saying her election “marks a proud and historic moment for our state.”
Jones is the third African-American woman to hold a state speaker position nationwide, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.